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How dangerous is visiting your doctor

09 March, 2015

Visiting GP
For the first time in UK history a nationwide inspection of GP surgeries has taken place, and the findings are shocking.

The Care Quality Commission visited more than 900 surgeries over the last few months, with more than a third of those subjected to the spot checks fling on at least one count.

Patients may have been exposed to harm for many years

The most basic sanitary conditions have not been observed by some family GPs, with vaccines being kept improperly and treatment rooms cleaned rarely, if at all. In fact, at least one treatment room was so filthy it was found to contain maggots.

The surgeries in nine places around the UK were found to be so dangerous that they could “potentially affect thousands of people,” according to the report.

The most dangerous practices

  • King Street Surgery (Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) – poor Staffordshire isn’t in the best of health at the moment, and King Street Surgery in Burton upon Trent is yet another care centre that was found to be putting people’s health at risk. Upon inspection there were vital protocols missing, which meant that patients may not have been cared for by staff with the necessary training.
  • Long Street Surgery (Wigston, Leicestershire) – when questioned, Long Street Surgery could not prove that they were taking measures to protect vulnerable adults and children from abuse. There were also significant concerns over the way personal information was kept.
  • The surgery of Dr Satish Patel in Reading, Berkshire was not following official guidance on preventing the spread of infection.
  • Northfield Surgery in Doncaster, South Yorkshire was found to have issues with prescribing the correct medicines to patients, as well as failing to properly monitor the care of patients, which could be putting them and their families at risk.
  • Lincoln Road Surgery (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire) – Lincoln Road Surgery was not clean. The inspectors stated that it was easy to see dust and that the practice was obviously not maintained well. Again, there were not enough measures to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Wolds Practice in Tetford, Lincolnshire again struggled to supply patients with the correct medicines, and also failed to properly manage controlled drugs, which are used to help addicts.
  • Norris Road Surgery (Sale, Greater Manchester) – no criminal record checks for some staff, who may have access to drugs and potentially dangerous surgical equipment. Once again, there were too few measures in place to prevent the spread of infections. The consulting rooms were also dirty and poorly maintained.
  • Dr Harira Syed’s practice (Rochdale, Greater Manchester) – some lifesaving equipment such as oxygen was missing from Dr Syed’s practice in Rochdale, which could mean the difference between life and death. Some staff didn’t have basic training.
The good news

The intention of the Care Quality Commission is not only to name and shame doctors who are putting families at risk, but also to provide an opportunity for the conditions in GP surgeries to improve.

The report, titled “A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of GP practices and GP out-of-hours services”, outlines:

Better, more systematic use of people’s views and experiences, including suggestions and complaints.

We’ve previously suggested that the way complaints are handled by the NHS should be subject to an overhaul, and it seems that the CQC report is a step in the right direction. Our own research shows that many people feel that their doctor does not listen to them, so let’s hope that standards are raised massively in accordance to the report’s findings.

The remaining 8,000 UK practices will be inspected by the CQC over the next couple of years.

Is ordering these practices to improve enough? Or does the government need to take more action to make our families safer?